Somehow, over the last few years, January became the month when all the magazines and home shows urged us to "GET ORGANIZED!" and "CLEAN OUT THE CLUTTER!" I always seem to think they're talking directly to me, so I feel guilty if I don't at least make an attempt.
This year, however, Hubs is the one who heard the charge. One day right after Christmas he completely revamped the hall closet. I had grown so used to various hats, gloves, and old purses falling on my head whenever I opened the door that I don't quite know what to do with all the newfound space in there.
We did steal an idea from a neighbor and put a large basket in the bottom of the closet to deposit our shoes in when we walk in the door. This was more an attempt to corral everyone's shoes in one spot so they could easily be found, rather than an attempt to keep the floors clean. So far, it's working! No more searching under beds and room to room looking for SOMEONE'S Hannah Montana sneakers.
As much as we love the holidays, it does feel good to be back in some sort of a routine. The winter days have also prompted me to make the slow cooker my slave.
Here's what's been on the menu lately:
1. Creamy potato soup, done in the crockpot. Fed us all for two meals plus a lunch or two, for around $10 total. I found my recipe on Allrecipes.com, but my good friend the innernets has lots of other great ones too.
2. Pork loin, cooked with onions, a little water, and a packet of Knorr pork gravy mix (my special secret). All the gravy needs is a little stir when you get home, and you've got wonderful, fork-tender pork loin to go with it.
3. Chicken vegetable soup- - -this one wasn't done in the crockpot but instead I cooked it up one night after the kiddos were in bed, then cooled it down, froze half for a future meal and stuck the rest in the fridge. It's basically like any other chicken soup recipe except I add lots of cut-up veggies plus petite-diced tomatoes,a little okra and wide egg noodles. Delish.
4. This one's in my near future (like this Tuesday night): My Aunt Sybil's chili. She served it the day after Christmas and I observed one Nathaniel Pellin slurp up two bowls of it, so I had to have the recipe. It was good to see Mr. No-Sauce-On-My-Spaghetti eat cooked tomatoes in some form.
What I've been reading lately: "Change Me Into Zeus' Daughter" by Barbara Robinette Moss. This book was loaned (given, maybe?) to me by my cousin over the holidays and I couldn't put it down for about four days. It's an absolutely heartbreaking memoir, but so beautifully written.
And Cousin, please let me know if you need the book back because I want to pass it on!
I'm currently on the waiting list at our library for "I Was Told There'd Be Cake"--the name of the author escapes me right now, but I've heard it's funny and I could definitely use a giggle or two!